'This is a great feeling ... it hasn't sunk in yet'

June 24, 2005

Elia Powers

Yvonne Zaidler and Amanda Charlesworth met on the first day of high

school. They have been self-proclaimed best friends for four years,

sharing laughs and the distinction of making honor roll each


Thursday, the Estancia High School seniors joined more than 225 of

their classmates at the graduation ceremony at Orange Coast College's


LeBard Stadium.

Zaidler and Charlesworth embraced moments after ceremoniously

moving their tassels from one side of their caps to the other.

"This is a great feeling," said Zaidler, who plans to attend UC

Berkeley. "It hasn't sunk in yet."

Zaidler was announced as one of six valedictorians. Charlesworth,

who plans to attend California State University, Long Beach, was one

of a handful of Estancia students who earned a state award for high

academic achievement.

Estancia Principal Tom Antal extolled the virtues of the class of

2005. A record 28 students earned a grade-point average of 3.5 or

higher each semester, Antal said.

He said the group collectively earned $350,000 in scholarship

assistance and logged 16,000 hours of community service.

"I can't believe how many of our seniors were so involved," said

Estancia Assistant Principal Sean Boulton. "At a smaller school like

ours, we rely on students to participate. They do it all."

Senior Jordanne Bradshaw said her fellow graduates are prepared

for their next step because they have coexisted in a diverse setting.

Test scores, she said, don't tell the whole story.

"Those who look down at Estancia because of the numbers don't

realize that students here are more ready for the real world than

most graduates," she said.

Graduate Constance Reeves told her classmates and the audience

that the class of 2005 has an exciting time ahead of it.

"Society says we're adults now, but are we ready for the world,

and is the world ready for us?" Reeves said. "This is our time to

find out."

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